In terms of messaging apps, WhatsApp remains a veritable heavyweight. The company is consistently rolling out optional features that continuously improve the experience for both personal and business users. Recently, WhatsApp introduced indefinite conversation muting, as well as the ability to make both voice and video calls.
Now, the app is bringing another feature to fruition in the form of disappearing messages, which should offer another way for users to exercise control over privacy and discretion with their conversations.
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Originally reported by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp rolled out an update on its official website lining out how disappearing messages will work. Once the feature is enabled, any new messages sent in the individual or group chat you designate will begin "disappearing" after seven days. The setting will only affect new messages, so your old conversations prior to the disappearing messages setting will be safe.
This is a major boon for privacy, in terms of sending even more sensitive information than you normally might on WhatsApp. These ephemeral messages are similar to those that users can send via iMessage with the Invisible Ink feature, but have a much longer staying time before they end up being eliminated.
There are a few caveats, though, in terms of whether or not the messages intended to disappear will remain or not. If you receive disappearing messages within the seven-day window and don't check WhatsApp, the messages will still be gone when you return. If you reply to a disappearing message, the parent message will be quoted, and that text may remain in chat after the seven-day period.
There are other situations in which your message may still remain, such as if one part of the conversation is forwarded to another chat without disappearing messages, or if users create backups before messages are scheduled to disappear. They won't be wiped until the user restores said backup.
WhatsApp cautions users to only use this feature with "trusted individuals," however, as it's still possible for users to screenshot, copy, save, or take photos of disappearing messages before they're gone. It's common sense, of course, but these are things that should be kept in mind when using this new feature.
Disappearing messages have been rolling out globally across both iOS and Android now. WhatsApp has noted that it's "starting" by offering messages with a seven day lifespan, and it will soon be looking into adjusting this time limit in the future.
With the rollout of disappearing messages, it's time to look to WhatsApp for what it might have in store for its users in the future. The future seems brighter than ever for the popular messaging app, which is great news for the WhatsApp faithful.
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